3 Simple Tips for Engaging Subject Lines

Sep 23, 2013 | Posted by

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder and summer is fading fast. With fall on the horizon, Grocers know that the Holiday Season is right around the corner and that with the arrival of fall, the competition for attention in subscribers’ inboxes intensifies.

An incredibly important piece in the email marketing puzzle that unfortunately is often overlooked is the Subject Line. Many email marketers put in great effort to create an aesthetically beautiful email template that renders perfectly on every device and platform. What many overlook is the importance of the Subject Line. Without an engaging one, who’s going to ­­­open an email anyway?

To help I have created a short list of the most effective Subject Lines, measured by Open Rate, from the past few months in the Grocery Sector. While I don’t recommend that you copy these Subject Lines word for word (“Summery” recipes just might not be what your subscribers are looking for in mid-September) there are valuable lessons to be learned.

Brand: Whole Foods Market
Subject Line: Summery 5-Ingredient Recipes and Perfect Picnic Fare
Open Rate:  16.46%
Sent Date: 2:46 PM June 19, 2013

Whole Foods Market

 

Brand: Whole Foods Market
Subject Line: 25% Off Supplements This Wednesday, August 21 Only
Open Rate: 23.08%
Sent Date: 4:04 PM August 19, 2013

Whole Foods Market_Email Marketing Campaign

 

Brand: Safeway, Inc
Subject Line:
Use Deal Match This Week & Save Up To $63!
Open Rate:
15.38%
Sent Date:
11:51 AM April 20, 2013

Safeway Email Marketing

Brand: Safeway, Inc
Subject Line:
Treat Yourself to Free Delivery
Open Rate:
17.57%
Sent Date:
October 25th, 2012

Safeway Email Halloween 2012

Brand: Kroger
Subject Line: 
Free Friday Download! FREE Ultimate Helpers + Win Your List!
Open Rate:
17.9%
Sent Date:
4:15 AM August 2, 2013

Krogers Email Summer 2013

Brand: Trader Joe’s
Subject Line:
The Fearless Flyer: Cool(er) Collection
Open Rate:
16.67%
Sent Date:
11:53 AM August 19, 2013

Trader Joe's Summer 2013 Email

Brand: Trader Joe’s
Subject Line:  Guide to Summer & Stick It! Finalists
Open Rate: 20.27%
Sent Date: 11:55 AM June 10, 2013

Trader Joe's Summer 2013 Email #2

Brand: Sobeys
Open Rate: 37.13%
Subject Line: Take the Sobeys Summer Steak Challenge & you could WIN up to $8,000 in prizes!
Sent Date: July 31, 2013 10:23:39

 

Sobeys Summer 2013 Email

 

Conclusion

Although there is no magic formula for crafting winning subject lines, there are some simple guidelines that if followed, can lead to increased open rates and engagement with your email marketing campaigns. Here are three key takeaways from the above examples:

1. Incorporate a CTA

Readers respond better when you give them something to do. Don’t ask for it; just provide direction to do something

Examples:
Use Deal Match This Week & Save Up To $63!
Take the Sobeys Summer Steak Challenge

2. Keep it Short

We did a study of over 5,000 email campaigns consisting of over 100,000 messages and concluded that subject lines between 25-29 characters generated the highest Open Rates. That said, test subject lines constantly. For example, the Sobeys example above is much higher than 29 characters, yet generated great clickstream metrics.

Examples:
Treat Yourself to Free Delivery
Guide to Summer & Stick It! Finalists

3. Incorporate Urgency

Customers are inundated with messages every day. An easy way to break through is to put some urgency behind your message. Deadlines work!

Examples:
25% Off Supplements This Wednesday, August 21 Only
Free Friday Download! FREE Ultimate Helpers + Win Your List!

 

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